The Supreme Court has upheld an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment ("Justices back gun owners," June 27). And I am thankful that five justices are capable of reading the plain meaning of the Constitution and enforcing its freedoms.
Guns are merely tools. By themselves, they do nothing. The person using the gun dictates whether it is used for good or bad purposes.
Gun restrictions such as the Washington law that the court struck down have the primary effect of removing guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens. This gives the advantage to criminals, who don't give a hoot about abiding by the law.
Urban areas that restrict private gun ownership consistently have high murder and violent-crime rates. Conversely, rural areas that allow more access to guns have lower crime rates.
I believe John R. Lott Jr. summed it up well in the title of his book: More Guns, Less Crime.
When will our state's elected officials consider these points and enhance the ability of the people to ensure their own self-defense by allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons?
Michael Zimmer, Eldersburg
The Sun's editorial "Handgun ban outlawed" (June 27) treats the Supreme Court's decision that firearms ownership is an individual right as if the court had granted crime-ridden cities such as Baltimore license to further restrict the acquisition and use of firearms by the law-abiding public.
The Sun apparently doesn't get it at all. It is not the average gun owner who is the problem; it is the criminal who is illegally armed and wanders the city's streets with impunity.
It is the criminal who, even when charged with firearm violations, spins in and out of jail as if he were on a carnival ride.
The cure for gun crime in Baltimore, and other cities, is swift, sure and lengthy punishment for the criminals.
W.C. Harsanyi, Pasadena
In the editorial "Handgun ban outlawed," The Sun's editors again show their ignorance of the subject or their inability to comprehend it.
I will not discuss the editors' errors in suggesting that guns are the cause of the rampant violence in our cities, most of which have been controlled by gun-banning Democrats for decades.
However, I take great offense at The Sun's repeated disparaging of the National Rifle Association.
The reason members of Congress have, as The Sun put it, "pandered to the NRA or knuckled under to its threats" is that the NRA has the ability to bring to the table the support of the millions and millions of people, NRA members and nonmembers, who agree with its understanding of the Second Amendment - one that the Supreme Court just affirmed.
If there is something evil about that kind of lobbying, then the Brady Campaign, the National Organization for Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, MoveOn.org and other groups that bring people together in support of what they think is right must also be doing something wrong.
David A. Titus, Windsor, Pa.
In response to the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Second Amendment, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings commented that "if we had one more person on that court who perhaps had more of a sensitivity to what is happening in urban areas ... perhaps the decision would have been different."
Mr. Cummings should be aware that the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret laws to determine their constitutionality.
If sensitivity is a factor in the interpretation process, our basic rights could fall victim to the emotions and feelings of officers of the court.
Instead of working to disarm those who wish to lawfully protect themselves, perhaps Mr. Cummings should spend more of his efforts legislating against those who break the law.
"Sensitivity" is not going to take guns out of the hands of the people who will ignore the law and continue the cycle of out-of-control crime in the city.
David Ledford, Fallston
Kerry's critics served with him
Although I applaud the essence of The Sun's editorial that discredits the charge by retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark that Sen. John McCain's "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" is not a qualification to be president, I disagree with the editorial's suggestion that there is a relevant comparison between these remarks and the "Swift boating" of Sen. John Kerry ("Shoot this down," editorial, July 1).
The questioning of Mr. Kerry's service record during the 2004 presidential campaign was done by people who had served with him. Whether these criticisms were fair or not, the voters were informed and left to decide whether they were germane to the 2004 presidential election.
Mr. McCain's service record should definitely play a role in this election.
And if there are performance issues that service members who served with Mr. McCain want to raise concerning his service to his country and his imprisonment for doing so, the voters should be made aware of them.
Ron Wirsing, Havre de Grace
Getting shot down isn't a qualification
Give us a break: The remarks by retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark were in no way a slur against Sen. John McCain or an attempt to diminish Mr. McCain's bravery or war record ("Shoot this down," editorial, July 1).
Mr. Clark just stated an obvious fact, that getting shot down is not a qualification to be president, which would be no different than if someone supporting Mr. McCain had said that being a lawyer does not qualify Sen. Barack Obama to be president.
Shame on The Sun for contributing to the hysteria over this nonissue.
John S. White, Stewartstown, Pa.
Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark's comment that Sen. John McCain's war service doesn't necessarily qualify him to be president seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Mr. Clark was not questioning Mr. McCain's patriotism.
The American people will judge the candidates based on their domestic and foreign policy positions.
James E. McGovern, Towson
Put no slots near our homes either
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the president of the American Gaming Association, responded to The Sun's article "Numbers Game" (June 22) in the letter "Gambling generates critical revenue (June 27).
This is the same Frank Fahrenkopf who said in October 2006: "Now if someone were to come along and tell me that they were going to put a casino in McLean, Virginia, where I live, I would probably work very, very hard against it. ... What's the old saying, 'NIMBY, not in my back yard'? Now I may be in favor of gaming, but I just don't want it located in a particular area."
If the head of the American Gaming Association doesn't want slots in his back yard, why would we want them in ours?
The only advice I'm taking from Mr. Fahrenkopt is to work very, very hard against slots.
Kim Roman, Berlin, Germany
The writer is a co-chairwoman of NoCasiNo Maryland.
Honest self-review will improve Coppin
Coppin State University fills a vital role in Maryland higher education. It provides access to higher education and opportunities to capable women and men from Baltimore and beyond, many of whom are first-generation college students whose promise has been hindered by limited opportunities.
On its own initiative, this university has been actively engaged in the challenging process of self-examination for the sake of the students we serve.
However, any institution that is responsibly engaged in this process must also confront the risk that is inherent to this important work. And in our case, to address important issues in the university, Coppin first must have the courage to acknowledge openly and responsibly that yes, there are issues in need of attention.
However, openly acknowledging and addressing these concerns carries the risk that this work will be misunderstood by others or, worse, misrepresented and sensationalized (as in the case of The Sun's choice of headline for its article about this review, "Coppin professors lash out," June 12).
Still, the way out of the proverbial forest is through it. And at Coppin, we now are moving forward.
The state of Maryland and the women and men who choose Coppin for their higher education will be the beneficiaries.
Fred Medinger, Baltimore
The writer is an assistant professor of social work at Coppin State University.